Legal and Management

Judge Denies Cox Communications' Appeal Bid in $1B Copyright Case

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The cable and internet service provider will be allowed to "recalculate" the number of infringed works tallied by the jury, but a request for a new trial was rejected.

In February, Cox Communications filed an appeal to the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit it lost last year to major labels and publishers, claiming the total was “grossly excessive.” Now the majority of Cox's challenges have been struck down.

In a judgment filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Liam O’Grady denied Cox’s request for a new trial in the lawsuit originally filed by the Record Industry Association of America and the “Big Three” record labels -- Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group -- and their publishing entities in July 2018. They accused the cable and internet service provider of refusing to “take reasonable measures” to combat pirates operating on its network; imposing an “arbitrary cap” on the number of infringement notices it was willing to accept from copyright holders; and failing to permanently terminate customers who were found to have pirated.

Cox was ultimately found guilty of infringing 10,017 pieces of work and fined $99,830.29 each, an amount equaling $1 billion. While denying Cox’s request for a new trial as well as its request to reduce the amount of statutory damages awarded per work, O’Grady noted he would allow Cox 60 days to “recalculate” the number of infringed works, stating the 10,017 number reached by the jury may have been “premature.” The plaintiffs in the case were also granted 60 days to provide evidence to support the 10,017 number.

In a statement provided to Billboard, Cox Communications said of Tuesday's judgment, "The ruling remains unwarranted, unjust and excessive. We will continue to vigorously defend ourselves. We absolutely should not be held liable for bad actions that others may have taken using Cox’s High Speed Internet service. We’re prepared to fight as long as necessary to correct this decision."